A few weeks before John was to arrive, Mr. X received an invitation to a Fisheries Conference in Girdwood. We decided to go and take John with us.
Wednesday morning we left Juneau early and arrived in Anchorage in time for lunch. We did a little shopping at REI - a treat for us, not so much for John - and a used book store. Then we headed south on the Seward Highway.
We made our way south on the Scenic Highway, passing through several avalanche areas until we reached Girdwood and found our way to the Alyeska Resort. It was still light out so we took some more time exploring the beautiful scenery along the Turnagin Arm. It was near zero and the wind was gusting like daggers. John got to see the country's two largest national forests - the Tongass in Juneau and the Chugach in Anchorage.
After nightfall we returned to the hotel in time for Mr. X to register for the conference.
Thursday morning, John and I found the only open ski rental facility (thank you Jim at Girdwood Ski and Cyclery) and ran out to get some X-country skis. John and I spent most of the day gliding around Moose Meadows, the Enchanted Forest and the New Nordic Trail. Of course since Girdwood is the home of some of the world's best Nordic skiiers, we definitely were out of place.
It was a beautiful sunny day and since the wind had stopped, quite pleasant.
Friday Mr. X was finished with his meetings. Before John got up, Mr. X and I took the skis down to Moose Meadows for a sunrise lap. I could really get used to a sunny, snowy, no work lifestyle.
We then took the highway south again to Portage to see Portage lake, Portage Glacier and Bryson Glacier. We also traveled through the 2.5 mile Anton Anderson tunnel to Whittier. This is the longest multi-use tunnel in North America. There is only one lane of traffic so cars and trains have to take turns in both directions. We quickly toured Whittier, awed by the view of the ice free Prince William Sound and the WWII era condominiums which house about 1/2 of the town's population and headed back to Portage.
We stopped at the Conservation Center to see bison, moose, elk, musk ox, eagles, Kodiak bears, black bears, and caribou.
From there we headed back to Anchorage. Found the temple, visited the Dimond Mall and returned to the airport.